Falafels can be home grown over most of Norway and if we are serious about climate change should become standar fare in kitchens, restaurants and supermarkets throughout the country. Dig for VICTORY against climate change! The ingredients: Broad beans / fava beans (bondebønner); grown in Malvik and stored dried Victory onion (seiersløk) grows particularly well in the arctic (or replace with garlic or ramsons) Golpar (spice from ground seed of any member of the Heracleum genus, including invasive Tromsøpalme, Heracleum persicum) Barley flour (bygg) – I used100% whole grain Eggs to bind Fry in oil (sorry, I used imported olive oil) (Optional: house grown chilis) Decoration: Oxalis triangularis
Victory onion or seiersløk (Allium victorialis) in Norwegian has one of the most widespread geographic distributions in the Allium genus from the Pyrenees to the Far East. In Norway, it’s naturalised in the Lofoten Islands, a few places in Nordland county and one location in Hardanger (Granvin). There is evidence to believe that it was originally introduced to Norway by the Vikings. I have plants from different parts of its range in my garden and there is a large difference between them as to when they begin to shoot in the spring, the ones deriving from Japan leafing out a few weeks earlier than the ones from Europe and Norway, although a plant received as Allium ochotense (nowadays considered by most as a synonym of A. victorialis), which originated in the Tromsø botanical garden, is probably from the Russian Far East and is also a late variety. Below are pictures of most of my plants taken on 19th and 20th April 2020. I have about 5 other accessions, two not big enough to photograph, one from the Kola peninsular has not grown well and will be moved to a new location, 3 more were planted this spring. two donated by the Oslo botanical garden and one a variegated form from Japan: Allium victorialis subsp. platyphyllum ‘Chiri Fu’.
1) From a seed trade with Iku Kubota in Japan in 2002.
2) From Tei Kobayashi in Japan in 2016 (subsp. platyphyllum or broad-leaved victory onion) has a flower bud extending
3) From seed from the Reykjavik botanical garden in 2009, originatin from the Sakhalin in the Russian Far East. This one also has a flower bud and has broadish leaves.
4) Received from the Tromsø botanical garden in 2002
5) From Granvin in Norway in 2012
6) From Merete in Lofoten in 2003
7) From Anja Angelsen. Krogtoft, Vestvågøy, Lofoten, Norway (2009) 8) From Massif Central in the French Alps (kindly sent to me by the Haut-Chitelet alpine garden in 2013) 9) From naturalised plants in Hopen, Nordland, Norway in 201310) Probably Allium victorialis Cantabrica AMH 7827 (collected by Antoine Michael Hoog, the son of one of the founders from Van Tubergen); I received it as Cantabria in 2008.
Several Alliums are extremely hardy and can stand green all winter even when exposed to temperatures under -20C. Similarly, young leaves of species that start to sprout in early spring as soon as the frost disappears near the surface have no problem with snow and frosts. Here are a few after yesterday’s snowfall!
My new life is as a “visiting onion researcher” at the Ringve Botanical Gardens in Trondheim where I’m developing an Allium garden to be officially opened later in the summer! One of the perks is to have access to collections in other botanical gardens on an exchange basis. I visited the Oslo Botanical Gardens last week (June 2019) and I was given a spade and given permission to take a few of whatever onions I wanted! Not having accession data available I took a few of most onions I found. On the way out of the gardens with bags of onions and rucksack with various Allium victorialis sticking out of the top, a couple approached me and the man says “Det var en god fangst!” (That’s a good catch!) ;)
I now have the accession data and am sorting out which ones are interesting enough to keep!
I’ve also promised to correct some of the mistakes as several were clearly wrongly labelled!
12th June: Added pictures of a few more edibles!
Tonight’s garden foraged perennial veggies for an oriental stir-fry!
Lots of Hablitzia (stjernemelde), ground elder (skvallerkål), Svenskelauk (a form of Allium fistulosum), sweet cicely (spansk kjørvel), dandelion (løvetann), day lily shoots (daglilje), blanched horseradish shoots (pepperrot) and a variety of Allium victorialis (victory onion, seiersløk) which is the earliest form I grow along with one from the Kola peninsular in northern Russia; other varieties have hardly grown yet!
In June 2009, I was shown the only naturalised stand of victory onion (Allium victorialis) in south western Norway (away from Lofoten Islands – Vestvågøy – and Bodø area where there are several large populations, possibly a Viking introduction there which has subsequently spread). It’s also found in a damp woodland (which regularly floods in spring) along the Granvinselven (the Granvin river) in south west Norway (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=10658). It is suggested that the onion came to Granvin by way of the so-called Jektefart (a trade route based on dried fish from Lofoten to western Norway), was planted in a garden close to the site, subsequently naturalising from there!
In late October 2014, there was a major flood in western Norway (https://nn.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oktoberflaumen_i_2014) which caused a lot of damage including in Granvin. Over 200mm rain was recorded over 3 days in several places and up to 330mm! Although not a record, it had already rained a lot for most of October and the ground was already saturated when the worst rain happened…leading to a totally unexpected extreme event.
I heard rumours that the victory onion location had been severely impacted by this event, so when we drove past Granvin on the way back from the Nordic Permaculture Festival in Jondal, I took the opportunity to visit the location! This confirmed that the site is much reduced and there is visible signs of erosion including a dried up channel through the middle of the wooded island where the onion is found (the river was very low due to the drought). In addition, I was surprised to find that a path had been constructed between the river and the school. This is part of a major civil engineering work in Granvin to protect the low lying inhabited areas from flooding (see https://www.nve.no/nytt-fra-nve/nyheter-skred-og-vassdrag/granvin-har-fatt-betre-tryggleik-mot-flaum )
A video showing the completed works https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Keg-BSrAi94 shows aerial views of “victory onion island” between 0:56 – 1:24!
These works may lead to further erosion and destruction of the island….
Seeds were actually already ripe due to the hot summer and I therefore collected seed to safeguard the Granvin onion to be offered to Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) through our autumn catalogue which will be produced in October!
From my friend Geir Flatabø: “Jaunssen Gjestgjevarstad (Jaunssen Guest House) in Granvin has begun to harvest / use the onion, and makes pesto served to guests, with good feedback.”
A report from my 2009 “onion safari” to Lofoten, Tromsø and Granvin can be found here (in Norwegian with English comments) http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=18527 (some of this material ended up in my book Around the World in 80 plants))
In 2009, I travelled to Lofoten to see the naturalised stands of victory onion (seiersløk) / Allium victorialis in Lofoten, the collection of this species at the botanical garden in Tromsø and also the isolated location at Granvin, south western Norway. The following travel report (with English comments) was distributed to members of Norwegian Seed Savers in 2009 with the title “Victory onion safari”!